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10.01.2013

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Advocate Impact:  Cindi Catlin’s Story

Cindi Catlin, CASA volunteer for the last two years, recently worked a highly special needs case involving an infant and a toddler. The family had previous history with Child Protective Services (CPS), in addition to the recent referral for medical neglect and neglectful supervision.

The oldest child, around 2 years old at the time of removal, was displaying behaviors consistent with abuse and neglect, including some extreme acting out. The youngest child, a two-month old infant at the time of removal, suffered from severe respiratory conditions that put his life at risk.  

Cindi used her expertise in early childhood development to work closely with CPS and the caregivers to address the oldest child’s behavioral issues. Cindi was able to communicate often with the mother, who was young, inexperienced, and was diagnosed with borderline intellectual functioning. When visits with the mother proved to be more damaging to the oldest child’s emotional state, she advocated for them to cease. When visits were stopped, the child began displaying improved behavior and overall mood.

The mother was engaged in some services, but did not have positive recommendations from providers, such as therapists. During the trial, Cindi was a key witness, being able to speak more thoroughly about the parent-child interactions than anyone else. Because of the ongoing contact she had made with multiple service providers, and the tremendous amount of knowledge that she demonstrated about the most intricate details on the case, Cindi’s testimony proved instrumental in the case.  She provided feedback about the mother’s interface with the children, as well as her personal understanding of the children’s needs. After much deliberation, the standing judge ruled that the mother’s rights would be terminated.

Cindi’s expertise in the area of child development, along with the diligent work she performed during the case, made it possible for these children to obtain their forever home. The children are on their way to being adopted by a family who has provided them with a safe, loving, and stable environment. Without Cindi, these children may have languished in foster care for years before finding permanency. She is a great example of what the role of child Advocate is all about.

Advocate Impact:  Cindi Catlin’s Story